BELLEVILLE – It was a dreary, overcast day at Belleville Lake for the Big Ten Rowing Championships on Saturday.
No. 11 Michigan’s performance matched the weather, struggling to a fifth-place finish in the seven-team tournament.
The Wolverines finished 60 points behind No. 6 Michigan State, which took the title with wins by its first varsity eight, first varsity four and second varsity four boats.
Just three of Michigan’s six boats – first varsity eight, first novice eight and second varsity four – qualified for the grand finals, making it difficult for the team to accumulate points in the afternoon finals.
“Overall, we didn’t achieve what we hoped to,” junior Julia Nelson said of the Wolverines’ disappointing day. Coming in, Michigan was expected to compete with Ohio State for second.
The first varsity eight gave the Wolverines their strongest performance, finishing third behind the champion Spartans and runner-up Buckeyes. The Wolverines finished just five seconds behind the Spartans, who led the whole way.
The rest of Michigan’s boats couldn’t find a rhythm. The second varsity four and first novice eight, the other two boats to qualify for the grand finals, both finished fourth in their respective races.
“We have a lot of emotion about today,” Nelson said. “If we can channel that emotion into the oar, we’re feeling hopeful about the rest of our championship season.”
Michigan hopes to bounce back with a strong performance at the Central/South Region Sprints on May 17-18 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The race is the primary way to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif.